Much of sales is about making connections.
To build your pipeline and reach potential buyers you wouldn't normally get access to, it's essential to always be expanding your network.
Tips to Improve Your Networking Skills
1. Take a close look at the network and resources that you already have in place.
Don't overlook the hidden potential that is all around you. Creating new opportunities from pre-existing ones is the most elemental of networking skills.
2. You can network anywhere, with anyone.
When looking for organizations to join to help you build your relationships and connections, choose groups where you can make a contribution and will be interested in what is going on.
3. Communicating your message is a means of gaining credibility that is best accomplished through substance, not style.
Listening and asking questions helps you build rapport and trust. Practice your communications until you feel confident that your message will come across as genuine and unscripted.
4. Most of us can't just show up at an event, stand around, and expect people to come up and talk to us.
Be proactive and start conversations with others. This does not mean you have to be the center of attention and the life of the party. Simply be yourself and the rest will fall into place.
5. Keep the conversation fresh and interesting.
Balance the amount that you talk with the amount the other person is talking and ask open-ended questions.
6. Exit quickly from conversations that aren't good matches.
When you find good conversations with people who could be the right fit, don't be too quick to leave. A few rich conversations and good new connections can make for a very successful event.
7. When it comes to networking, knowing what not to do is as important as knowing what to do.
8. No matter which method you choose, follow up is crucial to your networking effort.
Follow up turns a casual contact made at a meeting, party, or event into a potential long-term relationship.
9. In the end, networking is all about building relationships that are honest, sincere, and of value to both parties.
As you work to stay in touch, try to develop relationships that benefit the other party as much as they do you. Build relationships for the long term.
10. The best part about building relationships is that whatever you put in comes back to you.
More and better relationships mean a greater likelihood of generating leads that you can convert into great opportunities for your business.
Make a commitment to improve your networking skills and you'll see that "givers gain" is more than just a nice saying.